Hope you followed him. No, not him. Not Tiger. I wasn’t concerned with what Woods did at the Masters on Thursday and Friday. He does not produce highlights on Thursday and Friday. So I didn’t need a Tiger Cam for the first and second rounds at Augusta.
Instead, I followed one of the game’s greatest characters, and one of its greatest players.
I followed the guy who was Tiger – the top player in the world – for 331 weeks.
The guy who’s produced some of the Masters’ most memorable moments.
I followed Greg Norman.
The 54-year-old Aussie who very well may have playedhis last Masters.
The guy who deserves a green jacket more than Zach Johnson and a few others, honestly.
This was Norman’s 23rd Masters, a rightly-earned likely-swan turn. He’ll be there based on his third-place finish at last year’s British Open. It was a “comeback” that allowed us to remember just how much golf missed his presence, his class.
And he brought Chris Evert along. America’s sweetheart is now Shark’s sweetheart, and his return to Augusta is in part due to how she helped him overcome demons that we won’t let him forget:
*The bogey on 18 on 1986 to miss a playoff.
*The playoff loss to Larry Mize in ’87.
*And of course, ’96, losing by five strokes after leading by six as the sun rose on Sunday.
Norman could have disappeared then. And he did, slowly. He finished third in he Masters two years later but missed the cut three of the five years after ’96. Demons do that.
Demons also do divorce, but demons didn’t count on Chrissie. She loved him and lifted him from the ashes of his professional and personal failures. She’d been there, too. On both fronts. The only difference was that she overcame her demons.
“She completely understands,” he told the BBC earlier this year. And now, it seems, so does he.
So I hope you follow him. Not because he might have earned a green jacket. That didn’t happen, of course. He didn’t even make the cut. But no matter.
I followed him because he seemed to be having fun. Because he deserves more than we recognize and remember him for.
Follow him because he understands, finally.